Category Archives: Low budget movies of the week

Really Awful Movies: Ep 248 – The Tingler

Part artist, part huckster, William Castle is a name a lot of people know in the horror world. He produced Rosemary’s Baby (and would’ve directed too, were it not for health issues) but he’s best known for the gimmicks he deployed to promote the living heck out of his movies.

The Tingler, starring the legendary Vincent Price (check out our interview with his daughter, Victoria Price) is one such movie. Castle used “percepto” technology, a buzzer installed beneath some theater seats that literally shocked members of the audience!

The cost of this equipment added $250,000 to the film’s budget, which was negligible by comparison. Percepto was used sparingly and in predominantly larger theaters for logistical reasons.

The premise is delicious: Price stars as Dr. Chapin, a prison coroner responsible for doing autopsies on prisoners on death row (this seems like a waste of time and money, but that’s neither here nor there). A side of interest of his: how humans experience fear. He and a lab assistant speculate that there’s a structure on the spinal cord that is associated with fear responses (hence, “spine-tingling” fear).

Dr. Chapin uses his wife as an unwitting participant, scaring her with a starter pistol and doing an examination on her spine.

The Tingler is a fun movie, a corny monster movie / creature feature from the 1950s. And there’s the bonus of Castle himself introducing the film, and warning of the terrors to come. Hilarious!

On this episode of the Podcast:

  • How do we experience fear?
  • What is fear?
  • Are there different things people fear and how does horror exploit this?
  • We talk about hypochondriacs
  • We talk about death-defying experiences
  • We talk about the legacy of William Castle and who modern day exemplars are
  • Castle’s use of prop ghosts and audience shills
  • And finally, we discuss the lasting impact of the incredible icon of horror, the one and only Vincent Price


Really Awful Movies: Ep 246 – Reefer Madness

Finally, we get around to tackling one of the most infamously bad movies out there, Reefer Madness. A dim-bulb overly melodramatic propaganda film (Snarky Editors’ note: like Forrest Gump or Titanic), this 1936 crap-show suggests that “men die for it.”

A middling morality tale about the supposed dangers of weed, the film is now (of course) watched ironically.

Recreational marijuana became legal in our home country (Canada) in mid-October. It’s an interesting time to be living here, to say the least…

So on this episode, we (sorta) delve into the film, watching it in real time (what other kind of time is there?).

So, is this film as ridiculous as it’s cracked up to be? Certainly, but it doesn’t inspire gale-force laughter like some of the insane duds we’ve covered on this program, the likes of Shotgun, One Tough Bastard, Birdemic, etc.

We divulge probably more than we should of on this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast. We don’t usually record as we watch, preferring instead to do a bit of (gasp) research…but we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to change the format, if only temporarily.

Some of what we discuss:

  • The perils of buying weed as a teenager
  • Investing in marijuana stocks
  • Drug scams that take place in Toronto
  • The use of jazz and the perception of it during this time
  • Laws, potential hazards of Canadian marijuana legislation

(and probably a lot more that we can’t recall).

Join us on the Really Awful Movies Podcast, with smart genre film chat about dumb movies.